Specialty Food Magazine

MAR 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 46 of 63

FOODS IN FOCUS a registered dietitian based in New York City. "It also stirs up the variety so you won't get bored with your snack choices, encouraging you to snack healthier by adding complements like hummus or cheese." For example, Richter suggests adding low-fat goat cheese to such products as Kind's new Maple Walnut Clusters with Chia & Quinoa, a clustery chip with 17 grams of whole grains per serving. Horizon Food Group's Granola Flats and Beanitos in Black Bean and Pinto Bean & Flax. The big deal with alternative chips, says Galliani, is that they are healthier, new and exciting and offer such an array of ingredients that they sell far better than conventional potato chips at the store, even at a dollar more per bag. What's the Appeal? CCD Innovation describes emerging snacks as a combination of health and indulgence with a new focus on ingredient quality. "A kind of 'premium-ization' trend," notes Kimberly Egan, CEO/prin- cipal for the trendspotting firm. "Many people are set in their snack- ing behaviors," she adds. "If they can find something that is a little better for them and tastes good, they will go toward it." CCD Innovation's Nielsen praises products that take the famil- iar to the next level. All-natural Chip'ins from Popcorn Indiana in Englewood, N.J., are one such product; the company combines a familiar ingredient, popcorn, with the equally familiar chip shape to form an entirely new snack product. The all-natural, air-popped popcorn chips are infused with zesty flavors like Hot Buffalo Wing, Jalapeño Ranch and best sellers Sea Salt and White Cheddar. "The invention of the Chip'ins was a natural progression of our interest in expanding the popcorn category," says Hitesh Hajarnavis, Popcorn Indiana's president and CEO. Because Chip'ins are gluten-, trans fat– and preservative-free and made with whole grains, they are a healthier alternative to many fried chips and a more flavorful alternative to a baked chip. In March, the company will unveil a Barbecue flavor. Granola Flats, distributed by the Horizon Food Group, is another example of turning well-known ingredients into a conve- nient chip form. The baked, whole-grain chips are made with ingre- dients found in granola and come in flavors such as Maple Pecan, Almond Crunch and Cinnamon Raisin. "Crunchy chips with seeds and whole grains are great texture options and differentiators for cheese platters," says Sharon Richter, 44 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com Protein and Fiber Factors Despite the growing lineup of flavor options seen in potato chips (see sidebar p. 46), the protein punch is one of the secret weapons found in alternative chips. "Protein is the big trend in bean chips," says Nielsen. "The more you can fit in, the better." These chip varieties, she says, espe- cially come in the forms of rice, beans and grains. Building off the popularity of hummus, many manufacturers are making chips out of chickpea flour in an array of flavors, while others are creating corn or rice chips with a bean component. "The idea of packaging hummus in a chip is great," Nielsen adds. "It is one-stop shopping for consumers. The appeal is that they are convenient—no hummus to carry along—and most people are already familiar with hummus and the protein it offers." Six years ago, Hinsdale, Ill., company Plocky's introduced three varieties of flavored, gluten-free hummus chips (in best-selling Original, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper) made from real hummus and olive oil. With interest picking up over the years, the company has recently added two new flavors: Greek Lemon & Herb and Honey Caramelized Onion. Further benefitting this product in the health market is that each chip has only six calories. "We have one customer who comes every day for the Plocky's Hummus chips, like clockwork," says Diane Dean, manager at The Epicure Market in Miami. "These types of chips are making a difference with consumers because they are different and can be healthier." Simply 7 recently launched its new hummus and lentil chips, each in three flavors. The hummus chips are available in Sea Salt, Tomato Basil and Spicy Chili Pepper varieties. Lentil chips, which, like the hummus, are high in protein and fiber as well as iron, are available in Sea Salt, Creamy Dill and Bruschetta. Lentil is an increasingly popular ingredient in alternative chips. Recognizing the health benefits of lentils—iron, B vitamins and potential reduction of cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease— the Mediterranean Snack Food Company, Boonton, N.J., created a line of healthy snacks that combine the legume with whole grains.

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